Coles Liquor sees first quarter sales decline
Coles Liquor, owner of First Choice and Liquorland bottleshops, has followed the trajectory of its bigger rival Endeavour Group with a first quarter sales decline.
Quarterly results posted to the ASX this morning note a 4.3 per cent decline in revenue from Coles’ liquor businesses, from $874 million last year to $836 million in the comparable first quarter of its FY2023 results.
Much like Endeavour, Coles suggested that this was because the business “cycled COVID-19 lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory in the prior corresponding period”.
Excluding these states and their bulk sales, Liquor sales grew in the first quarter, Coles explained.
On a three-year basis, liquor sales revenue increased by 15.2 per cent, an increase from 14.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of FY22. Overall, group sales revenue including supermarkets reached $9.9 billion.
In a statement to investors, the owner of 934 bottleshops nationwide said that its Liquorland was its strongest-performing banner, and ecommerce sales had grown by 3.9 per cent to $41 million for the quarter.
At a category level, RTDs were identified a “key driver of growth” and that lowering prices – more than 1,000 price drops across Liquorland and First Choice – delivered value.
Coles explained that it was focusing on a “differentiate and grow” policy, aimed at differentiating its offers and serving customers better.
As a result, it said, it has been focusing on Exclusive Liquor Brand (ELB) products, introducing 94 of them in the quarter.
One of the latest additions is Travla, a 3.5% abv mid-strength lager endorsed by Vikings actor Travis Fimmel, MasterChef Australia winner Andy Allen, and Blake Bowden, co-founder and director of Jetty Road Brewery before it was bought out by Mighty Craft earlier this year.
The beer, marketed as “ultra-low carb” is situated in the same space as Endeavour Group’s Better Beer, a collaboration between Mighty Craft brand Torquay Beverage Company and social media influencers the Inspired Unemployed.
In addition, as part of this focus on ELB, 30 new low and no alcohol products were also added to the Liquor portfolio during the quarter.